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Church officials cautious on man-made living cell

May 21, 2010

Top Church officials have reacted cautiously to the announcement that a scientist has synthesized a living cell, using man-made DNA. The announcement by researcher J. Craig Venter has prompted discussions about man-made forms of life.

"If it is used toward the good-- to treat pathologies-- we can only be positive," said Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. However, he said that positive assessment would quickly change if the new discover did not "respect the dignity of the person."

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops' conference, had a similar reaction. While welcoming any genuine scientific breakthrough, he said, the Church would insist that any advance must be "measured against the ethical dimension, which has at its heart the true dignity of every person."


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  • Posted by: garedawg - May. 21, 2010 7:20 PM ET USA

    It's not like they made the cell completely from non-living parts. They used parts of existing cells; only the DNA was artificial. There's the story of the scientist who says, "God, I can now make life, so it looks like you're not needed anymore". God says, "Oh, really? Show me how you did it." So the scientist bends over to pick up some dirt, and God says, "Wait, use your own dirt!".

  • Posted by: enterprise_coffee6927 - May. 21, 2010 6:49 PM ET USA

    If I understand correctly what My Craig alleges he has accomplished and what in fact occurred tell me he is delusional if he truly believes he has created a cell. Let see, he took material from numerous other cells, combined them into one and called it a living cell. This incident reminds me of my wife when she informs me she has taken a vegetable for here and another from there and made a salad. Oh I do not deny she mixed a fine salad by stating she made a salad when she didn’t even plant the seed to grow the vegetable is an exaggeration beyond reproach. Words don’t lie but in most cases they are a bit of an exaggeration.